Columbus—Following up on legislation introduced last week, State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) sent a letter to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today urging him to pursue legal action against prescription drug manufacturers, distributers and providers if there is evidence they contributed to Ohio’s deadly opioid crisis.  The letter follows Senator Schiavoni’s announcement of Senate Bill 154 last Wednesday.  The legislation would give communities across the state more resources to deal with a drug crisis that kills eight Ohioans every day.

“As citizens and governments struggle to understand and combat the opioid abuse epidemic, we must pursue every avenue to reduce addiction, support treatment opportunities, prosecute those responsible, and support local communities,” Senator Schiavoni wrote in his letter.  “It is critical that we seek changes in marketing and company practices that contribute to prescription drug abuse and monetary damages that can help offset the high public cost of addiction.” 

States and individual counties across the United States have filed similar lawsuits to halt reckless behavior and seek compensation for the cost of responding to high addiction rates.  For example, Kentucky settled a lawsuit with the maker of OxyContin for $24 million, and according to the Washington Post the attorneys general in a dozen states are considering lawsuits against drug distribution companies.

SB 154 would allocate 10% of Ohio’s Rainy Day Fund to provide targeted assistance for addiction treatment and prevention programs.  An editorial in the Canton Repository hailed the legislation, saying, “Statehouse Democrats and Republicans should give (it) strong consideration…” 

A copy of Senator Schiavoni’s letter to Attorney General DeWine can be read here.

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